30 years no contact, how to get a divorce?

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30 years no contact, how to get a divorce?

Talking to a good friend of mine about marriage, and I find out she is already married. Come to find out, she hasn’t seen her husband in over 30 years. She wants a divorce but has no clue where to start.

Asked on August 14, 2017 under Family Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

In a situation such as this the law provides a remedy; it is called "service by publication". In any legal proceeding, action against cannot be taken against a person without first giving them notice. This is so that they have the chance to appear and explain their side. In the case of a divorce, even if a spouse can't be located they still must be notified before any action can proceed. With service by publication, the filing spouse (i.e the "petitioner") makes a good faith effort to locate their missing spouse (i.e. the "respondent"). The petitioner must present proof to the court that they made a genuine effort to find them. Once done, they'll be permitted to serve that spouse by publishing notice of the divorce in a newspaper in the area of the spouse's last known whereabouts (instead of the usual method of personal service). As a general rule, the respondent has 30-60 days to file a reply. If they fail to do so, then the petitioner can then file a request to enter a "divorce by default" (although the respondent is given a certain time limit in which they can file an appeal). At this point, you can consult directly with a local divorce attorney dor further advice..


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